Chris Akin of "The Classic Metal Show" recently conducted an interview with LIFE OF AGONY bassist Alan Robert. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the band's new studio album, "The Sound Of Scars":
Alan: "It does continue the story of 'River Runs Red' in a way that we haven't done since 1993. That record, back then, made such an impact on so many people's lives. Our fans have come up to us time and time again saying 'River Runs Red' saved their life because they felt less alone. This story continues with this teenage boy — he tried to kill himself at the end of the record, and 'The Sound Of Scars' starts with the album with the very same blood drips you hear at the end of 'River Runs Red'. It really takes you through 'What if he survived?' So many of our fans, and even us, are dealing with our depression and life issues. It's a heavy record. It's a heavy, emotional kind of journey through dealing with the things that haunt you in your past. I think a lot of people can relate to that."
On the positive message behind "The Sound Of Scars":
Alan: "When we wrote 'River Runs Red' back in the early '90s, before the Internet and before social media, there wasn't a lot of places for people to turn when they were feeling alone and alienated and bullied and all of these feelings. I think that's why that record connected with that generation. Nowadays, with mental illness and depression so prevalent with all of our heroes one by one dropping like flies, it's so disturbing. It's timely again. Now that there's more awareness, more places for people to turn, this record could save someone else who is having trouble with their own personal life and dealing with their own emotions. That's the reason why we do this."
On the writing process for "The Sound Of Scars":
Alan: "This is definitely a very layered record. I think to get the full experience, it's like one of those albums that you lay on your bed, you put on your headphones and you listen to it from start to finish. And it really takes you on a journey, but it was definitely a collaborative effort, for sure. Everyone got their hands dirty on this record, even our guitarist Joey Z co-produced the album with Sylvia Massy, a producer of TOOL and SYSTEM OF A DOWN. I did all the artwork. I have a long history in graphic arts and I wrote most of the lyrics on the record. So a lot of themes, especially on 'River Runs Red', which I wrote the lyrics for, too, is connected to the common themes that we've been touching upon for many, many years."
On whether vocalist Mina Caputo's personality tends to overshadow LIFE OF AGONY's music (formerly known as Keith Caputo, Mina came out publicly as transgender in 2011):
Alan: "I think it depends on which sites you're on. I think there are a lot of media sites out there, and I won't name names because they know who they are, that love to sensationalize Mina in headlines to get clicks. I think it's kind of disgusting, actually, that that's what they're interested in instead of what we're trying to do and the impact we're trying to make on people's lives. I think there are a lot of great sites out there that get it and focus on the music and the message, and our fans definitely do."
On new drummer Veronica Bellino:
Alan: "We clicked immediately. In fact, she's the only person that we had auditioned. As soon as we played with her, we knew it was right. She flew in from L.A. in January of last year and she knew five or six songs from the old catalog flawlessly. That night, we were, like, 'You're in. We don't want to look at anybody else. That's it.' Really, from the moment that she joined the band, there was this new-found inspiration, fire burning in all of us to kind of do things differently, play longer sets, dig deep into the catalog, play songs we haven't played in decades. So we started to revisit the old records to put some setlists together. We had two sold-out shows in Brooklyn that Veronica made her first appearance with the band. She learned, like, 20 songs, and by listening to the old songs, we kind of were re-inspired to put those type of song elements back into the writing for the new record, like the big background backing vocals, breakdown parts, and even chasing some of those heavy grooves and tempos for the new record. So that was top of mind when we were writing 'Sound Of Scars'."
"The Sound Of Scars" was released on October 11 via Napalm Records.